The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is using a complex web of non-profit and corporate entities to keep millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments and other international donors from public disclosure, Washington's Daily Caller reports.
"CAIR's fundraising practices are constructed in a way that makes it impossible to trace large donations from overseas, including from foreign governments," the story says.
The structure is so convoluted, CAIR co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad was at a loss to explain it during a recent civil deposition, writes Caller reporter Charles C. Johnson. "The names have changed over the years," Awad said. "And I'm not privy to the exact distinction between the various organizations."
There is a CAIR Foundation and a CAIR Action Network, but the original CAIR corporation has ceased to exist. In June, CAIR filed papers in the District of Columbia to create the Washington Trust Foundation, or Internet-pun friendly "WTF." CAIR has not discussed the move publicly.
David Reaboi, a spokesman for the Center for Security Policy, called CAIR's various corporate entities "a thinly disguised money-laundering operation." Awad's deposition was connected to a pending lawsuit CAIR has against the center.
The Daily Caller exposé comes on the heels of CAIR's latest "Islamophobia" report, which uses public records to trace donations to groups CAIR doesn't like.
"CAIR then obtained tax documents known as Form 990s for each non-profit organization in the inner core for the years 2008-2011, when they could be acquired in the window of time allotted for researching and writing this report," the report said. "Form 990s must be filed annually by tax-exempt organizations."
CAIR actually lost its tax-exempt status in 2011 after failing to file those required tax forms for three straight years. That status was reinstated after an appeal but there has been no disclosure of its accounting from the missing years.
Johnson's story makes it clear that CAIR is quick to try to embarrass donors it doesn't like while working overtime to ensure its own sources of operating money are kept hidden.
With good reason. The Investigative Project on Terrorism reported last week that CAIR sought money from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, now accused of genocide in Darfur. Previous IPT reports show CAIR also solicited money from Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi before he was toppled, and State Department records obtained by the IPT show CAIR sought millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2006.
CAIR's actions seem to present a hypocritical view about non-profit support: Disclosure for thee, but not for me.
Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. Emerson was a correspondent for CNN and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report. Read more reports from Steve Emerson — Click Here Now.
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